What to do when an interview is set but you changed your mind?

When a recruiter or a hiring manager set an interview with you, it means they allocated time specifically for you.

You have all the freedom to change your mind for whatever reason but in terms of best practices, I highly recommend calling to cancel as soon as possible.

It is very inconvenient to wait for someone to arrive to a meeting they willingly confirmed but then not to show up. Many times, recruiters call candidates back to ask if they had an accident on the way but they wouldn’t even pick up to explain what happened.

Some recruiters will even put a note such as “Don’t call again” because if you were rude to them you are likely to be rude to their customers as well and not honor your commitments.

Many will say, yes but companies also stop giving feedback after the interview and that it is rude as well. I totally agree, but 2 wrongs do not make a right. The people may come and go in the company but that note will stay on file. What if 3 years later you saw another opportunity and wanted to apply?

For the sake of doing things respectfully, just inform the people who are waiting for you that you won’t be showing up. Keep communication channels open; maybe you were not ready today, you were going through a difficult situation, you woke up sick, you did not remember that you had an exam, received another offer or simply decided that you were not interested in the vacancy anymore. It does not matter.

Some recruiters will ask themselves if the candidate is not interested, why did they bother to apply at all? What you need to know is that if an employer called for an interview, it means they saw something they liked in your profile and how you conduct yourself is your control.

It goes without saying that if something came up and you’re still interested in the vacancy, contact the recruiter to reschedule as soon as possible to avoid passing by an opportunity you were looking for.

How to overcome the work authorization barrier as an international job seeker?

Here are 7 things that can be done to overcome the work authorization barrier as an international job seeker:

1. You work in a multinational and there’s a vacancy elsewhere. Check the internal rotation rules. NB: Some multinationals can do this, others can’t for legal reasons.

2. What you do is in high demand. Companies can’t find employees locally/regionally and they’re ready to pay for a work visa. NB: This requires networking skills.

3. Look for a job in surrounding countries with which your country has strong “positive” ties which would have “easier” work visa conditions. NB: These may change with politics.

4. Apply to international companies/NGOs already known for hiring int’l candidates. NB: Expect process to be very competitive.

5. Start with remote work/contract/project-based job/project with companies that don’t have location limitations because there’s always a chance for things to change when the company experiences your work. NB: This helps getting your skills known to more people inside the company.

6. Knowing that employers need a permit before they can sponsor a foreign worker, many countries post a list with their names. NB: The number of countries who do that is very limited.

7. Apply for an immigration program (if available) that allows you to work in the country you’re targeting.

What are the in-demand certifications?

Here are some in-demand #certifications:

Computer network engineering certifications:
– Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
– Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

Project Management certifications:
– Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
– Project Management Professional (PMP)
– PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
– Certified Scrum Master (CSM) / Professional Scrum Master (PSM)

Business Analyst certifications:
– Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
– IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA-AAC)

Supply Chain certifications:
#Canada: Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP)
#USA: – Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
– Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
– Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD)
#Europe: ELA Certifications / EIPM Certifications (different levels)

Accounting / Finance certifications:
– Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
– Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Human Resources (HR) certifications:
#Canada: Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) / Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) – Ontario or Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) – Other provinces
#USA: Professional in Human Resources (PHR) / Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
#UK: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) different levels

How to know which one is for you? You’ll see it mentioned in the job descriptions you’re looking at.

A live résumé review on Twitter

So @Ramyand3others on Twitter set up a great personal website and shared CV. With his permission taken, I created a thread with insights on what to do to move towards international standards.
-Looking for Full Stack Dev role in Canada
Disclaimer: We will be collaborating live on Twitter for educational purposes. Plz note that this is going to be a high level intervention to keep the thread manageable. Also note that each case is different. My usual process is extremely more detailed. You are under no obligation to use any info. provided. This based on my 10+ years of exp. as a Recruiter & Employment Consultant. There is nothing “right” or “wrong” and there is no intention to shame anyone.
For the Website:
First Section: Name & title
For the title make sure it speaks to the job you are looking for. I would add a tagline that gives a sense of the personal branding. This could be one line or 2-3 words like this: 2-3 words | 2-3 word | 2-3 words
About Me section: This here is too short & too brief. Since it’s a website, we have the space to expand a bit further. I’d love to see some more personality. Draw me into your world. For example you can answer questions like:
– what do you do?
– what problems do you solve?
– why do you do it? what does it mean to you?
– why do you like it?
– what makes you really good at what you do?
– what are you most known for?
– what’s your greatest professional achievement?
Because Ramy is in tech, the next part to showcase would be the tech skills. This is the Number 1 item recruiters scan. On the website he uses logos, many recruiters recognize them, but others don’t, to simplify, I suggest writing the name below the logo as well.
Moving forward with the Experience section: We have the title, the name of the company, the month/Year dates – So far so good. As a Recruiter from another country I will help to understand WHO these companies are, WHAT do they do & at which stage they’re in.
Why? because it’s in tech and it helps understanding the environment you worked in. startups are not like mature companies, this affects load, structure, communication, problem solving, access to resources & everything in between.
So now the parts that have completely changed: Role + Achievements instead of tasks from the job description. Ramy is using the traditional style which almost everyone still uses. So how we change that? The employer is hiring for a Full Stack; they know the tasks. Use common sense and the JDs a guide to pick and choose what you want to put upfront. Always think strategy.
The soft skills are weaved, some in role some in the achievements where fit. Now the JUICIEST part: The Achievements. This is where you will look at the JD line by line and see what they are looking for then ask yourself: When & how did I demonstrate this?
You can also answer questions like:
-Did you facilitate introduction of systems, software, or technologies? For what applications? What were the results?
-Have you developed and/or led the team that developed any new products, systems, software or technologies that you either used internally or marketed to your clients?
– Any involvement in technology commercialization or technology transfer? What technologies? Between whom or which organizations? Any financial numbers associated? Any quantifiable achievements?
– What is the largest project you’ve ever been involved in? Did you have supervisory or leadership responsibility? What was the dollar value of the project (either internal investment or external sales)?
Not all these questions may be applicable to Ramy’s case but it’s the way of thinking when you are looking for achievements. How to write them? Start with an action verb in the past tense, what was the result, what was the action and what what the situation/challenge. (Reverse S/CAR technique)
Then for the Certifications: Add the year you got them and institution you got them from. I recommend only listing the ones that make sense to the job. Also beware if some are very old or expired, they may no longer be relevant.
Finally the education, add the year of graduation. That’s it for the Website!
Big NB: Since the application is for Canada, I highly recommend adding “Fluent in English, French, and Arabic.” in the intro + “Available for relocation” / Also note that in terms of titles, when Canadians specifically look for someone both fluent in English AND French, they will use the term “Bilingual”.
NOW FOR THE CV: Note that in Canada it’s called a Resume. So for Ramy it will look something like this to conform to the Canadian style. The paper is “Letter” size. Turn spellcheck into Canadian English.
I personally tend to avoid B&W in terms of design. So I add some color which could look like the images added.
I’ve written so many resumes, no two look the same, each has it own personal branding and strategy.

What is the résumé writing mill problem?

Someone called me to say they had their résumé professionally by a well-known company. They even had an “Interview Guarantee” but person didn’t get ONE SINGLE CALL.

Here are some notes from the perspective of someone who delivers a customized service:

1. Photo: Most countries are leaving this requirement off to avoid discrimination & bias.

2. Irrelevant personal information: This only enforces discrimination & bias which is against human rights.

3. LinkedIn link with numbers after the name: Easily editable in LinkedIn settings.

4. No title & no branding: Leaving the reader guess which role you’re looking for is a waste of time. Add the title of the role you’re interested in. What are you good at? What makes you different from others?

5. Summary: Writing several lines to say nothing of value won’t help. Write a strong value proposition to engage the recruiter to read further.

6. Content: Without the job description next to you, what are you writing? To whom are you writing? There’s no point in writing everything you’ve ever done, nor listing all your tasks. What employers care for are your achievements.

7. Columns: They don’t do well with online application parsing software.

8. No display of career progression: There are ways to display progression within the same company.

9. Nothing about the companies, no scope, & content that made only sense to local competitors: Applying abroad is different than applying locally. The assumption that the local company that worked at is known to the future employer in another country does not stand. What are you doing about it?

10. Incomplete LinkedIn profile: Writing 3 lines when you have space for 2000 characters in the About section isn’t taking advantage of space. Moreover, only listing positions & company names doesn’t help the reader understand your value.

Like anything else there are generic lower priced services that rely on volume & templates to maximize their revenue on one hand and there are highly customized services that take a lot more hours to write. They definitely cater for different clients & can’t be compared pricing wise since their processes are completely different as well.

How best to answer: “What are your salary expectations?”

This is a question that many people hope will not pop.

But if the employer was straight forward and transparent from the start about their budget for the position; this question would not feel uncomfortable for many. Also, what’s the point of going through many interviews and later discover that the proposed salary is way below expectations? Yet, I don’t see that this will stop from happening soon because some employers think that it’s better for the salary expectation to come from the candidate first to see if they can or can’t match. (Many don’t have a salary scale or are not up-to-date with market trends).

So, if this question comes to you there are many strategies you can use:
– If you have not done your research prior to the question, you can say that you don’t have an answer now and that you will answer in 24 hours.
– If you have done your research, you can mention that you have done so and either give a straight number or a bracket range with the minimum being what you’d accept.

In both above cases, you can back your answer with facts, put your skills and talent upfront, and explain future benefits. (Think of it like a sales pitch)

– If you don’t want to give a number in any way you can say that you know that they compensate fairly and that you trust that they will give an appropriate compensation for the role. This approach is a bit passive and let’s one think that you’ll either take whatever they will offer.

Here you can still negotiate but the margin will be small.

What are the risks though?
If you know yourself you either get what you asked for or open the floor for negotiation from a desirable number at least whereas if you let things go you may find yourself trying to add a few dollars to an undesirable number and be demotivated or not! It’s up to you!

10 reasons the recruiter disregarded your Résumé

There are many reasons why a recruiter may end up disregarding your résumé.

Here are the most common 10 reasons:

1. The photo on your résumé is a selfie with a duckface in a car or a nightclub: Not very professional, remove the photo altogether.

2. You are lying: Professional recruiters are trained to find those inconsistencies; good luck with that.

3. You applied to 5 totally different job vacancies in the same company: Err, where exactly do you think you fit? This shows that you are not targeted and don’t know what you want.

4. You applied to a job where you clearly don’t have the required qualifications: When a company does not advertise the job you are looking for, send your résumé by email with a cover letter instead of applying to the wrong job and burning your chances to be considered later on.

5. Your résumé is 8 pages long: Recruiters have thousands of résumés to read per day and they will not spend more than a minute on yours so write smart. Stick to one page if you have 5 years of experience or less, 2 if you have more.

6. Your résumé is not written in proper English: Check the English the company uses on their website.

7. You dismissed critical information: No one is going to call to ask which university you attended, how long you worked in a company and what exactly were your accomplishments. Make sure it is all there.

8. You sent your résumé by mail 5 times, by hand 4 times and already called 3 times: A bad impression won’t get you anywhere. When there is a vacancy and a green light for the budget, interviews will take place. You will miss your chance with this approach. (Not talking about pistons)

9. Your résumé is full of typos: Spell check and get other people to read it! Pay attention to details. Communication whether written or oral is one of the prime skills employers look for these days.

10. You sent your résumé to 19 other companies in the same email (obvious in the TO) or the company was in BCC: Please take the time to send a personalized e-mail to each company showing that you actually made an effort to show genuine interest.

Again, there are many other reasons that may have nothing to do you.

10 quick things not to forget before a job interview

Before going to a job interview, you need to remember 10 quick things as a candidate:

  1. Check the company’s website

As son as you are called for a job interview, check the company’s website. Find out more about the history, the products, and services offered as well as the careers’ section. Most of the employers will ask you “What do you know about us?” to see how much you actually know. For them it is also a sign of how much you care and how much you prepared.

In work situations, you will have to do a lot of research before many activities like visiting a prospective VIP client, proposing a new idea, headhunting, finding suppliers etc…

  1. Check the location

Most of the companies put details about how to get to them on their website and many can be found on Google Maps. Calling back several times to ask about the location shows that you are not resourceful, can’t read a map or don’t know how to ask people to find your way around. Why not go scout the location ahead of time, then?

In work situations, you will be given subjects you know nothing about and will need to know not only how to research but also to ask questions.

  1. Write down the interviewer’s name

There are usually more than one interviewer in each company (Between HR, Technical and even CEO). Showing up in front of the receptionist without your interviewer’s name will make you look bad since there could be more than 20 persons who interview candidates. You get a +1 if you are capable of greeting your interviewer using his/her name.

In work situations, you will have to get in contact with an insane number of people. You better know their name and who is who to get your work done properly.

  1. Note the interview date and time

Is there anything worse than wasting the chance to get the job you wanted just because you did not write down the interview’s date and time?

This shows that you either did not take the appropriate action following the information you were given or that you were not focusing. You get a +1 if you manage to get to your interview meeting 10 minutes earlier.

In work situations, forgetting such information means missing important meetings, conference calls, appointments etc.. that the company cannot afford to miss.

  1. Dress appropriately

A job interview is as formal as it gets. It’s your opportunity to present yourself and tell your interviewer what you know and what your aspirations are. It is advised to show up in formal attire and give a serious and professional first impression. If the business has  a more relaxed dress code, you will be informed of the details sooner or later. You will neither dress up when going to the beach nor when painting a room, right?

In work situations, dressing accordingly is important in our society. It also shows an understanding of the work environment and adaptability.

  1. Apologize if you can’t make it to the interview AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE

Would you be happy if you allocated time to a person who decides not to come and doesn’t bother informing you? No, one would. Companies even blacklist the “no show” candidates for being disrespectful and wasting the interviewer’s time who was waiting for them instead of giving the time to someone else.

In work situations, this is considered unacceptable and very disrespectful. No matter who the person is, anyone should be able to leave a message of apology for tardiness or not showing up to a meeting or an appointment.

  1. Bring required documents

Not bringing required documents already communicated over the phone or by email shows again that you either did not take the appropriate action following the information you were given or that you were not focusing.

In work situations, you will be required to remember to bring a number of documents for meetings inside and outside the company. It is not professional to show up without the necessary paperwork to proceed with business. Always take a minute to make sure you have everything you need before a meeting or an interview.

  1. Introduce yourself to the receptionist

Don’t expect the receptionist to know who you are and what you are there for when you show up. A “Hello, my name is ABC and I am here to see Mr./Ms. ABC; he/she is expecting me.” is simple and does the job.

In work situations, being able to get your message through in a clear and concise way will help you be efficient and keep potential misunderstandings at minimum.

  1. Prepare your questions

A job interview is also your chance to see whether you want to work for the next employer or not. Knowing that you will spend a lot of time and effort on the job, you better collect all the information you need to make a sound decision.

Following the meeting, many interviewers close with a “Do you have questions?”. Grab the opportunity to clarify what did not seem clear to you and to probe about things like why there’s an opening in the first place or what are the things the company is trying to improve instead of asking cliché questions like if there’s a career path.

In work situations, asking the right questions will save you a lot of time when going about your projects. Also preparing those questions means a higher chance you understood the problems at hand and that you know how to get the data you need to proceed.

  1. Smile

A smile helps cooling the stress of the interview down. Knowing when to smile is key as well. Having an answer when you are asked about subject you don’t know is much better than smiling.

In work situations, being able to control body language and reactions will help turning situations to your advantage especially during sensitive moments. For example, you may not want to show a client how upset you are for turning down your offer in a meeting, instead you could seize the opportunity to explain the repercussions of this decision in attempt to get the deal.

Bonus: Relax

Most importantly, don’t freak out!

Anatomy of a Cover Letter

Cover Letter or No Cover Letter? The debate is real.

Some companies do require one, others say they don’t read them. However, depending on your situation, a Cover Letter could have added value as it is a valuable space to express what you can’t in a résumé. Things like:
– Why do you want to work for this company and this role?
– Why are you transitioning from a different job / industry?
– Why do you have a gap in your resume?
– Why are you looking to relocate?

Whatever information that needs to be shared to make your application stronger.

1. Keep branding consistent with your résumé.

2. Add name of Hiring Manager, Position, Department, Company Name & Physical Address.

3. Name job you are applying for, how/where you came across it.

4. Mention why you want to work for THIS company (Pick 2-3 facts about the company & why they appeal to you.) and THIS role.

5. Introduce yourself in terms of soft & hard skills in line with the role making you a suitable candidate.

6. Share a story highlighting most skills required connecting them with company needs. Give details & achievements related to the job description. You can use the T-Chart method or bullet points.

7. Say how you understand the needs of the role, how you can help & how this job makes sense as a next step for you.

8. Thank the reader for their time, say you attached résumé for review, provide a call for action.

9. Use your own language in terms of style. Paper & spelling as per country standards

10. Cover letter should be 1 page & contain keywords company cares about.

Templates have no substance and no soul. Don’t use them.

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Senior Art Director
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